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Question: Can the processes (methods) as opposed to ingredients, of producing a beauty product be different enough to justify the price differences in the same product type? A makeup artist I like commented in a tutorial that the reason she liked Dior eye shadows is they have a wonderful texture. When she asked a cosmetic chemist why, they said it was because during its production the product was held at the ‘fat combining’ stage for slightly longer than is the norm… (???) I’m interested to know if high-end companies use more involved methods and this is a reason why their products can be more expensive?
While we stress the importance of looking at ingredients to understand the quality of a product, there are situations where the ingredients don’t tell the full story.
Sometimes how the ingredients are put together can be tremendously important to the quality of the finished product. You don’t see this in simple mixtures, like shampoos, but you do see it in more complex products like pressed powders. Case in point: a recent article in Cosmetics & Toiletries revealed that the quality of a powder cosmetic products depends in part on how the powders are pulverised.
The powders used in cosmetics can form agglomerates, or clumps. These clumps prevent the powder from having a smooth application. To avoid these clumps powders are processed to break them into tiny particles. This is commonly done using a piece of equipment called a hammer mill which basically slams metal hammers against the powder’s surface to break the pieces apart. Most manufacturers use this type of equipment.
However, a more advanced process known as “jet milling” can break the particles into even smaller sizes and make them more spherical.
Not surprisingly, jet mills cost more, and not as readily available, as hammer mills. That means if a company wants to make a higher quality powder they either have to invest in more expensive equipment or they have to use a contract manufacturer which owns this specialised grinder. In either case, the use of jet milling to create a softer feeling product results in an increased price. Therefore it’s unlikely you’ll see this used in bargain products.
So the answer is yes, process can impact cost.
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